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Grand Master Message May 2023

Grand Master Message May 2023

Bulletin GM Banner May

Half Yearly Communication – 19.4.2023   Grand Master’s Message

MW Bro Peter Kirwan, Immediate Past Grand Master, RW Bro James Walker, Deputy Grand Master, Past Deputy Grand Masters, distinguished brethren, brethren all.

As you will all be aware, the past 72 hours have been overshadowed with shock and disbelief at the sudden and tragic passing of our beloved and distinguished brother, VWBro Barrie Nugent PGIW, who passed to the Grand Lodge above whilst in Melbourne, on Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter duties, attending as Grand Scribe Ezra, at the Victorian Grand Mark Installation.

Barrie was a larger-than-life personality, who filled every room he entered with light and laughter, endearing himself to all with his selfless commitment to helping anyone and everyone and displaying at all times, the genuine principles, tenants, and values of our beautiful craft.

We extend our deepest condolences and well wishes to his wife Lee and their two children and their families at this very difficult time and remain ready to assist them as they may require.

We equally extend our wishes to MEm Comp Ken Taylor, First Grand Principal, and all companions of the Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of WA, at the passing of REm Comp Barrie Nugent, PDGZ.

Arrangements for Barrie’s farewell will be published according to the family’s wishes in the next few weeks.

We are now 18 months into my term as Grand Master, the halfway mark and it is appropriate to reflect on what has been achieved and what is yet to be done in providing our members with the tools and programs to allow their lodges and members to thrive.

We launched a new membership and Grand Lodge Strategy in March last year, which was solely focused on achieving a demonstrable increase in members of 1000 by the end of 2024, which was both audacious and aspirational.

Over the last 12 months, we have initiated several projects which are designed to assist in achieving this growth target, together with building capability in operations, supported by the appropriate resourcing.

iMIS, our selected Customer Management System and Database is well into development and rapidly approaching the user testing phase, with several lodges about to embark on testing the first iteration with their own data, to ensure we have the correct settings and right process flow to allow secretaries and eventually members themselves, to own and manage their own member information.

Your secretaries have all received a request from the Grand Secretary, for your member data to be collated and provided to the iMIS project team, to test its veracity and integrity, and ensure when iMIS is turned on and made available, all lodges have rich data that is accurate and current. Can I please ask all those lodge secretaries who have not yet replied to the Grand Secretaries e-mail to provide their data via the template sent out, to please do so, as it will greatly assist the project and shorten the time line to go live.

The Grand Secretary’s office has assembled a Volunteer Services Team, who have been tasked with the member services responsibilities of serving lodge daily operational requests, in conjunction with Cherie Evans, together with reviewing and managing the communication needs of the jurisdiction such as the Labour book, Bulletin, and forms management and processing, ensuring lodges have what they want when they need it.

The phone is now being answered daily, and e-mails are replied to in a timely manner and I commend the Grand Secretary and his team on commencing a process to streamline the service delivery to our members and their lodges.

The Education and Training Committee have developed a ‘Lodge Cultural Road Map and Lodge Health Check’, which will be issued to lodges imminently, containing a vast amount of specific guidance to lodges on how to employ best practice across all aspects of lodge operations, focusing each lodge on its future and giving them a way to think about how might they change their current cultural settings, to set a course for increased growth and prosperity.

Together with the Health Check, will be provided a Capture document, to identify the decisions and choices made by the members in agreeing to how their lodge may be shaped, or not, for the future.

The Grand Inspector of Workings and his team will provide an opportunity for each lodge to hold a facilitated workshop with one of his team, in working through the Health check and capturing the decisions made, so there is ownership by the lodge and its members, in putting into practice the actions agreed to.

To support the educational needs of our members, we will be embarking on rolling out a program of Masonic Education and Training, called the ‘Masonic Advancement Program, or MAP for short.

This will be a construct of both basic knowledge of the three degrees, EA, FC and MM, and the journey from one to the other but will also be supported by a Masonic Education syllabus, entitled the ‘Why’ series, which will explore the esoteric and deeper meaning of why we do what we do and the meaning behind the many objects, symbols, stories and ritual of the craft.

The program is still in development with the content having been written and curated, the delivery method now being considered to ensure we can meet the needs of our members and reach as many members across the entire jurisdiction as possible.

Further details will be released over the coming weeks, with a proposed delivery date on the later half of this year.

The membership Committee are finalising the top of the funnel, or public/initial enquiries into Grand Lodge process, to best understand what the actions required are to ensure that we properly court and on-board enquiries to prospects and eventually, prospective candidates for lodges.

This has necessitated a change to the current RMO Program, resulting in a new Regional Membership Officers Action Group being formed, which will be rolled out over the next few weeks, providing a managed and timely experience for potential prospects, which will guide them through a set process, in preparation for introduction to a lodge.

I would like to thank all those members who have served in the role of RMO over the course of the last few years and acknowledge their tireless effort in assisting lodges with prospective candidates, together with being a communication link between the lodges and the Grand Lodge Membership committee.

Lodges should and will continue to be encouraged to source their own members as there is no substitute for a personal introduction, however, we know that we need to assist lodges with managing enquires to the lodges, ensuring those enquiries are well cared for by those lodges who have taken the time to consider their cultural settings and set themselves a course for growth, creating a culture that meets the expectations of the modern candidate and Mason.

Communication has been a cornerstone of our focus and we are about to embark on a series of vodcasts, that introduce the initiatives and programs we will be delivering in the areas described above, as well as providing information on our Masonic Foundation and MCO’s activities.

In addition, we will be conducting a further series of Town Hall meetings as was done in July – September of last year, which will focus on the iMIS launch and rollout, due for late July, or early August of 2023.

Communication is both internal and external and we are keen to ensure that we have a strong public presence that invites prospects and interested parties to come and see what we do within our organisation and the community in general.

Accordingly, we are planning a ‘Festival of Freemasonry’, which will be held in late June, and will incorporate a number of ‘Open Houses’, or Open days in lodge rooms, the opening and dedication of the Yvette and David Ganon Masonic Library and the Ray Drury Masonic Archives, also open to the public, the week then culminating with the Dedication of the foundation stone for the Dr. Bill Babe Health Campus at middle Swan, to be held Saturday the 17th of June, which will see the Grand Lodge Ceremonial team, conduct a traditional Foundation stone laying ceremony with all the pomp and pageantry deserving of such an occasion.

It will be the first time since December 1967 that a foundation stone for a building has been laid in Western Australia by Freemasons and I trust that you will all make the effort to attend and witness a once in a lifetime ceremony.

Details and invitations will be provided to all members within the next few weeks.

Whilst we may not have laid or proved a foundation stone for many a year, we have recently completed two re-consecrations of lodges that have celebrated 100 years.

The Darling Range Lodge No 112 WAC was re-consecrated on the 4th of February 2023 to a packed lodge room, with brethren, guests, and dignitaries invited by the lodge, enjoying a sincere and dignified ceremony of re-enactment and dedication of the lodge.

On the 17th of April 2023, the Grand Team travelled to Quairading to re-consecrate the Dangin Lodge No 110 WAC, also celebrating 100 years of continuous service in the district and the Wheatbelt and participate in the installation of its 100th Worshipful Master.

These lodges have joined a small but growing list of Lodges that can be classed as ‘Centenarians’ and we look forward to attending more of these important and auspicious occasions as lodges reach further key milestones, driven by a focus on their future and getting the settings in their lodges right for growth.

In addition to ensuring we have the programs in development for assisting lodges to thrive, we must also acknowledge the other Masonic Orders operating in Western Australia, which rely heavily on Craft Freemasonry for their membership pool and are equally in need of identifying what the key drivers of successful acquisition and retention of members if, as craft lodges must.

Accordingly, and to ensure we fully support the other orders, we have taken the step to fully and formally ‘Recognise’ all other masonic orders meeting and or operating in Western Australia, with a view to providing forms for discussion on how best to support each other and assist all Freemasons to enjoy their various experiences.

A Heads of Order meeting was held on Wednesday the 8th of March, with every order currently operating in WA in attendance, totalling 16 representatives from 12 orders, including the Order of the Eastern Star.

The meeting agreed to meet at least twice per year, with a view to exchanging information and providing a forum for ideas in which how best to support each order in achieving its aims and objectives for that year.

As a result, all orders will now be formally invited to send delegations to our key ceremonial events, which currently would be our Annual Proclamation and the Grand Installation in November of 2024 – we will additionally be extending an invitation to each order to attend the dedication of the foundation stone at the Dr. Bill Babe Health campus on Saturday the 17th of June.

This marks a significant change in jurisdictional recognition in WA and I ask all members of the WA constitution to embrace our brethren who are members of other orders and respect and enjoy each other’s choices along our own Masonic journeys.

In closing, I wanted to thank those individuals who work tirelessly to ensure that we all enjoy our Freemasonry.

The Senior Leadership team consisting of RWBro Jim Walker, DGM, RWBro Paul Powell, SGW, RWBro Francis Shipstone, JGW, RWBro Peter Murdoch, GS, VWBro Ross Flood GIW, VWBro Michael Sims, GR and VWBro Wayne Rowley, GDC, have been fundamental in ensuring we have a dedicated and well trained team who understand their responsibilities and are committed to ensuring every lodge is properly represented at installation and other ceremonial requirements throughout the year.

In support of our senior leadership team, are a number of key and critical offices that are held by other brethren, not least of which are our DGIW’s, able led by our GIW, RWBro Ross Flood, and our Deputy GIW, VWBro Stephen White.

I mention them specifically as they are important and dare, I say, underutilised resources for lodges. As well as assisting lodges with understanding the Manual of Rulings requirements for both ceremonial and lodge governance, your DGIW is the gateway and direct line of communication, from your lodge to Grand Lodge.

They remain ready and willing to assist in all aspects of lodge management and other matters that may confront a lodge and its ongoing viability, and I would ask that you please involve your DGIW in all aspects of lodge life, as they have a vast amount of experience and can quickly assist you as and when you need it.

I would like to think that your DGIW is an extension of your lodge and plays an important part in augmenting your member’s experience, so please consult them.

Our Grand Lodge team, is made up of Cherie Evans, who ensures lodges operational needs are met and Tim McDougall, who manages the iMIS project which will become reality for us all in a few months’ time. Both do a stellar job in keeping the wheels of Grand Lodge turning and I thank you both for your ongoing commitment, dedication and effort.

Finally, I wanted to thank ML MacDonald, our CEO, who provides guidance and advice across Governance and Operations, together with Parbat Gorasia and the Masonic Care team, who manage the mechanism and structure for the Grand Lodge to deliver a large number of its services to the membership.

Brethren, the focus for all of us must now be on membership, and not just our ability to recruit and court an enquiry from prospect to prospective member, but more importantly, how do we provide nourishment for our existing members and desire for our new ones, so we meet their expectations at all times along their journey.

This challenge I leave you with to ponder and take action against and trust that together, you will support the programs and work being developed and rolled out for all lodges, so we all work towards creating the Pivot that is now a necessity and the only pathway to a thriving and vibrant constitution.

MWBro Daniel Ganon

Grand Master

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